Study suggests practicing acts of self-control can make you better at it

James' World 2

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A trio of researchers from China and the U.S. has conducted a study that offers possible evidence of a way to improve self-control—by consistently engaging in self-control acts. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jianxin Wang, Yulei Rao and Daniel Houser describe experiments they carried out with volunteers meant to test the idea that people could improve their willpower regarding one activity by periodically engaging in another.

Most people have a reasonably clear idea of how good they are at resisting temptations—some are able to have a single beer at a bar before heading home, for example, while others cannot seem to resist having many. In this new effort, the researchers have designed an experiment to find out if practicing impulse control might make people better at it.

The experiment consisted of enlisting two types of volunteers to…

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